Passports in Alabama
If you are looking to travel out of the country, the first step is to complete a passport application in Alabama. The information you provide on the application, along with other items needed for the application process, is what will go on your passport card or book.
Alabama postal offices and some private agencies offer expedited passports. Expedited documents are ideal if you plan on traveling very soon and need appropriate identification.
In addition, no matter where in the state you live, you will have a nearby location to obtain travel credentials. Alabama has over 50 passport acceptance locations that you can visit, and there are multiple sites in bigger cities like Birmingham. Learn more about everything you will need to know when it comes to passports and how to get, renew or replace lost credentials in the sections below.
Where to Get a Passport in Alabama
In Alabama, you can to go to your local post office, clerk of court office, public library or regional passport agencies to get or replace a lost passport. All locations, regardless of where in the city it is located, have the same process for you to receive your credentials.
Getting a new passport usually takes four to eight weeks. However, it may take longer if you are trying to get your identification during spring and summer, as this is a popular time for traveling.
If you are looking to acquire travel credentials without spending all day at a US passport location, it is important to make an appointment if your location offers appointment services. You can do so by phone or online.
Alabama Passport Books vs. Cards
“What is a passport book and why is it different from a card?” is a question many Alabama travelers may ask when planning to travel outside of the U.S. When looking to apply for a passport, you should make sure you understand the differences between the cards and the books. Although the two documents have some similarities, you cannot use them the same way.
A passport card is not valid for international air travel. You can only use the card to travel by land or sea. With the passport book, you can travel to countries specified by Department of State by land, sea and air.
With a card, you can only use it to travel to Mexico, Canada, Bermuda and the Caribbean. You will not be able to travel to anywhere else.
However, with the booklet, you have no restrictions. You can travel to over 100 different locations, including the locations that you can travel to with the card.
An advantage of having the card rather than the booklet is its size. The card is a wallet-sized identification with your picture, information and barcode. This small design makes it easier to have it with you at all times.
The passport booklet is 5 by 3 ½ inches, which does not fit in your wallet. It is much more difficult to carry around, especially since a standard US passport has 28 pages.
The passport card cost is cheaper than the booklet, although its restrictions may not fit the needs of all travelers. If you know that you will not be traveling by air and are only going to list of restricted destinations, then the passport card is the perfect form of identification.
However, if you are looking to travel around the world, then you need to get the booklet. Both forms of identification are REAL ID compliant, and you can use it when flaying to locations within the United States.
How to Get a Passport in Alabama
If you are looking to apply for a U.S. passport for the first time, you have to go to a local US passport location. You are not able to go through the process by mail or online. However, you can print out the form online, fill it out and take it with you the day of your appointment.
Along with the passport form, you will need to bring:
- Proof of U.S. citizenship.
- Proof of identification, such as an Alabama drivers license.
- A check or money order for US passport fees.
Taking the items listed above on the day of your appointment is important. If you do not take any or are missing one of the following items, you will not be able to get travel credentials.
How to Get a Passport in Alabama for Minors
If you are trying to get a passport card or book for your son or daughter, you will have to follow a slightly different application process. In addition to completing the passport application and bringing the items listed above, there has to be parental consent from both guardians if the child is younger than 16 years of age.
The best way to provide consent is by having both caretakers go with the minor to get his or her travel identification. However, if one guardian is unable to attend, he or she must give permission by completing the parental consent form that grants permission. Once completed, the guardian unable to attend must have the form notarized and provide a photocopy of the front and back of the ID he or she presented to the notary public.
If you are 16 or 17 years of age and trying to obtain travel identification, you must follow another application process. Along with providing the items list above, you also have to show parental awareness. One way to provide parental awareness is by having a guardian present when you are getting credentials.
If a caretaker is unable to attend, they must fill out, sign and have the parental awareness form notarized. Credentials for a minor younger than 16 years of age are only valid for five years. A passport is valid for 10 years for anyone that is 16 years old and older.
Minors without parental consent and applicants that do not bring the required items to receive a US passport are not eligible to obtain travel credentials. Applicants will not be eligible to apply for a passport if they have:
- Unpaid national loans.
- Felony convictions.
- Unpaid child support.
U.S. Passport Renewals in Alabama
Unlike getting a passport for the first time, a passport renewal can be done by mail. This allows you to renew your credentials your own time and avoid waiting at a passport office. However, not everyone is able to renew his or her identification by mail. To renew your documentation by mail, you must meet the following requirements:
- Your passport was issued in the last 15 years.
- Your U.S. passport was issued when you were 16 years of age or older.
- Your passport is not damaged, lost or stolen.
If you do not meet all of the requirements, you will not be able to renew a US passport. Instead, you must go in person and apply for new documentation. Regardless the method for renewal, you must provide:
- A completed application form.
- Your most recent US passport, even if it is expired.
- A passport photo that meets federal guidelines.
- A check or money order for fees.
“How much does it cost to renew your passport?” is a common question for Alabama travelers. Passport renewals cost as much as a new passport, depending on what type of passport is obtained.
How to Replace a Lost Passport in Alabama
If you lost your passport, you need to act quickly. The first step is to report lost or stolen passports to the U.S. Department of State. You can do so by calling or printing out and mailing the lost passport form to the address listed provided.
Once your identification has been reported lost, damaged or stolen, it is no longer valid. If you happen to find your credentials after reporting that it was lost, the identification cannot be revalidated.
A significantly damaged passport can prevent you from using the document to travel, so you must make sure to replace the document as soon as possible. Severe damage includes missing pages, water damage and holes.
Getting a new passport must be done in person at an authorized acceptance facility. You will need to take the same items with you as if you were obtaining credentials for the first time along with the completed lost passport form.
How to Complete a Passport Update in Alabama
If you need a passport update because there is a data error on your valid travel identification, it can be corrected at no charge. Updating your identification can be completed in person or by mail. To make corrections, you must mail or provide these items in person:
- A completed passport form.
- Evidence of the error.
- Mail or take in person a current passport.
- A recent passport photo that follows guidelines.
Another situation when you will need to update your credentials is if you change your legal name. If this occurs, you will need to mail or provide the following items in person:
- A completed passport application.
- Your original or certified name change document.
- Provide your current passport.
- A color passport photo that meets requirements.
If you completed a drivers license name change process after marriage, you may be able to use this document as proof of the name update.
Alabama Expedited Passport Service
If you need your credentials sooner than the standard delivery of four to eight weeks, you should apply for an expedited passport. Although it will cost more because you have to pay an additional expedited service fee, you will receive your documentation in two to three weeks. You are able to request expedited credentials mail or in person, and through a private passport expeditor or regional passport agency.